After two years of vigorously surface-sampling mineralized outcrops at its CESAR copper-silver project in northeastern Colombia, Max Resource Corp (TSX.V: MXR; OTC: MXROF; Frankfurt: M1D2) is preparing to drill the property, considered prospective for hosting a world-class Cu-Ag resource.
Having obtained its first Mining Concession Contract for the URU Zone Max has been exploring this year, the company on Wednesday announced the receipt of three additional Mining Concession Contracts at URU, located along the CESAR North 90-kilometer-long copper-silver belt.
“These four strategic Mining Concession Contracts provide secure tenure of the URU zone and immediately forge the way for more advanced work programs, surveys and drill permitting,” said Max’s CEO, Brett Matich, in the Nov. 24 news release.
“Achieving this critical milestone expedites Max’s first drill program at URU, being a significant event in the Cesar basin since the discovery of Cerrejón, the largest coal mine in South America and the basis for much of the critical infrastructure in the Cesar Basin,” he added.
The four contracts encompass a total of 70 square kilometers, including a zone of copper-silver mineralization that has been identified over 48 km². This leaves plenty of room for Max to explore within and “around the edges” of the existing mineralization, which is important given that the outer limits of the Cu-Ag occurrences have not been found; URU remains open in all directions, with highlight values of 14.8% copper and 132 g/t silver, from sampling that included 13 samples in excess of 3% copper, 69 samples over 1% copper, and 14 samples greater than 15 g/t silver. Sample widths range from half a meter to 25 meters.
In Colombia, Mining Concession Contracts are granted for an initial 30-year term, and include an extension for another 30 years. The process includes a detailed Social Management Plan (SMP) followed by a public hearing with the local community.
Max has already completed the SMP with a public hearing taking place on Sept. 2, 2021, after the first contract was issued.
While Max will continue to conduct regional exploration along the 90-kilometer-long CESAR North copper-silver belt, its immediate focus is on URU. The next steps are:
This is Max’s exploration plan going forward. It’s important to recognize that this plan didn’t exist previously. It’s a new strategy. According to Matich, the company expects to do environmental baseline studies starting in December then start applying for drill permits, followed by drilling late Q1 2022. Note that the enviro-studies are not necessary for every drill permit application, meaning that drilling should proceed smoothly as more URU drill targets are identified and drill permits are applied for and granted.
Max has interpreted the sediment-hosted stratabound copper-silver mineralization in the Cesar Basin to be analogous to both the Central African Copper Belt (CACB) and the Polish Kupferschiefer deposits. Almost half of the copper known to exist in sediment-hosted deposits is contained in the CACB, including Ivanhoe Mines’ 95-billion-pound Kamoa-Kakula copper deposit in the Congo.
Kupferschiefer, the world’s largest silver producer and Europe’s biggest source of copper, is an orebody ranging from 0.5 to 5.5m thick at depths of 500m, grading 1.48% Cu and 48.6 g/t Ag. The silver yield is almost twice the production of the world’s second largest silver mine.
The URU and CONEJO zones, two discoveries Max made at CESAR North this year, are among five discovery zones identified since the company took ownership of the CESAR project in late 2019.
While the northern part of the 90-km-long CESAR North has been characterized as “Kupferschiefer-style” mineralization, the southern part containing URU and CONEJO are suspected to be more “Central African” in nature.
Kupferschiefer deposits are envisioned as huge flat-lying sheets of sedimentary copper. These slabs of “copper shale” can run for several kilometers but they are relatively thin, with an average mining thickness of just 2 meters.
By comparison, CACB-type mineralization has some thickness to it, and there may be feeder zones running into the orebody.
To understand why Max thinks the URU Zone mineralization is Central African, take a look at Figure 3 below.
The image depicts a three-dimensional model of the URU Zone. The model shows the various mineralized occurrences, which range from 1,000 to 34,400 parts per million (ppm) copper and 5 to 656 ppm silver, presenting at surface.
As you can see the topography is mountainous. Some of the mineralization has to extend vertically. When I first saw this diagram of the terrain, I thought “that mineralization had to come from depth.”
The figure below shows the URU discovery cross-section. Notice that three of the four surface sample locations with grades attached are taken from where the green “ore shoots” rise up to the surface. The fourth sample location is deeper, taken from within the porphyritic intrusion, colored red.
The fact that the mineralization appears to run continuously for 800m (between 400m and 1,200m) through mountainous topography strongly suggests there is a lot of volume to it — it more or less goes from base to hill-top, which could indicate a major copper-silver system emplaced throughout. The zone has been expanded to 48 square kilometers, and it remains open in all directions. That’s an exciting prospect.
We don’t yet know how large CESAR is but we know that Max has successfully identified copper mineralization at surface in a number of areas of the 200-km-long CESAR Basin, making this a potential district-scale copper-silver system.
CONEJO stands out for the grades Max is achieving there. The zone now extends over 3.3-km of strike with average grade of 4.9% copper using a 2% cut-off — unheard of these days when copper grades over 1% are considered excellent. CONEJO doesn’t appear to have the same amount of volume as URU but the high grades suggest it wouldn’t need as much volume to delineate a resource.
URU’s grades are a little lower than CONEJO’s but the mineralization Max is encountering suggests it could have scale.
Major mining companies are only interested in large mineral deposits or deposits that are scalable to their needs. Interest in MAX’s CESAR project has been strong, with multiple non-disclosure agreements in place to advance the project, including a collaboration agreement with an industry-leading copper producer. There have been three field visits to the site from undisclosed parties.
The company keeps finding high-grade copper zones and expanding these areas, confirming the potential existence of a massive sediment-hosted system comparable to some of the biggest in the world.
Max Resource Corp.
TSX.V: MXR; OTC: MXROF; Frankfurt: M1D2
Shares Outstanding 86.3m
Market cap Cdn$21.2m
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